Reaching financial independence early in life is still something uncommon. In the best case, it’s seen as mega ambitious or plain crazy. You will have to find creative ways to get there.
Most surely you will have to do something you have never done before – start a side hustle or a business, create a product or a service, grow an investment portfolio or become an extreme saver. You will have to expand your mindset, try something new and endure the frustration of your project not turning out the way you wanted.
Creating is the process of taking something raw and shapeless out of your mind into the world. It is intimidating, painful and you don’t even know how it will turn out after putting so much effort and time into it. You open yourself up and chances are criticism will flow from all sides.
How other people are so brilliant
I very often fall into the trap of discouragement. I admire the brilliant creations of other people, and I feel disappointed that I am not there yet.
How do they do it?! For me, it takes long hours, sweat and discomfort to bring my creations to life – be it a blog post, a photo session, a new project, or learning a new skill. I easily get impatient. I want it to be satisfying straight away.
I have been writing this blog for 6 months now. Although I enjoy the process, I have started to feel uneasy about not having a huge following, not writing a book or even building an impressive Instagram profile to accompany the blog.
I had an aha moment as I was reading an article on the creative process of a fellow blogger:
I’ve been doing this (blogging) for 6 years, and I don’t even think I’m anywhere near “good” yet. But I keep on trying and testing, and improving just a little bit every week. – Lionel Yeo from Cheerful egg
I felt humbled. I woke up to the fact that in the blogging years I am a 2-year-old kid. I still have a lot to learn and find out what this all is about – building a community, raising awareness, sharing know-how, raising a platform for future products and services or ‘just’ a healthy therapy for myself to get my thoughts out.
I wish more people spoke openly about their creative processes and how they face their vulnerabilities. Rome wasn’t built in one day, big companies like Facebook and Apple weren’t built by only one person, friction-free and in no time. Elon Musk probably the world’s most remarkable living entrepreneur is also dealing with all kinds of impossible problems:
A friend of mine said running a start-up is like chewing glass and staring into the abyss. After a while, you stop staring, but the glass chewing never ends – Elon Musk
I can listen for hours to Brian Chesky talking about the early challenges of starting Airbnb. This shit is insane! It’s not at all shiny and easy and user-friendly as it looks now.
One thing that connects all these people is they push through the pain and uncertainty. They try over and over again. They don’t forget the final goal and they don’t surrender after plan A fails but go through all the remaining letters in the alphabet.
Things take time
Before starting this blog in November 2016 I had spent many months having a desire to write, juggling ideas, fighting with my own insecurity:
What do I have to say? The world is smart enough even without my contribution. – Kate App
I had started 3 or 4 blogs with great enthusiasm, but they never went beyond the first post. I didn’t want to let this one die like the previous ones. I brainstormed concepts, blog names, taglines, what value I might bring to myself or potential readers. I had a short list of WordPress themes which I liked.
But the actual blog wasn’t coming out. I had almost surrendered when I decided to just write a story in a plain text editor to see how writing feels like. The shift from thinking to doing felt so good! I let my thoughts and ideas flow onto the screen. As I was writing the very last paragraph the name of the blog come up – Eyes on the Goal!
It’s like it the whole time it has been cooking up in the background. When the right moment came, it all happened very quickly and easily. – Kate App
That was it! That very same evening I bought the domain name, I set up the hosting, I choose one of the preselected themes and the blog was online! Yuhuuu! This was a long labor, but my brain child was finally born.
The creative process
I love how Elizabeth Gilbert, an author of “Eat, pray, love” and a few other best-selling books describes the creative process as a daily struggle, which doesn’t pay for years and still it is our core calling as human beings. The satisfaction of getting something out there is incomparable to anything else in the world.
Big Magic (noun): The divine relationship between a human being and the mysteries of inspiration. – Elizabeth Gilbert in her brilliant book Big Magic
With time I have recognized my creation cycle and some of the mysteries of inspiration:
It’s when the initial idea hits me. I am full of enthusiasm and energy. There’s an explosion of ideas and thoughts.
- First issues
I finally sit down to bring to life whatever I have set my mind to. I write the first words. An uneasy feeling sweeps me up – “this is not good enough, what were you thinking, it is nothing, it won’t turn out well”. I feel a sudden impulse to grab something to eat, check my email or clean the windows.
- Push through
It takes me a conscious effort to stay put and continue writing word after word being disgusted by the imperfect creation in front of me. I keep on taking step by step and ignoring the feeling. I know the only way to get through is to continue typing.
- Brain vomit
I take everything I got out of my brain onto the screen. It is a big mess, with spelling mistakes and logical dead ends. I start reading through and it is actually not so bad.
- Creative flow
Now I am in the flow. I correct the mistakes, I shift paragraphs, I delete sentences, I add quotes and links and with each iteration, I like it more. I now have a solid draft with a potential to get even better. The uneasy feeling is gone. Time flies as I see my creation shape in front of my eyes. After many, many iterations I reach a version I like, I am even proud of.
Once I feel the post is good enough, I share it on social media. At this moment it doesn’t even matter if people like it, engage or completely ignore it. It’s my victory, it’s out there. It was born out of my sweat, fear, insecurity and it’s a triumph over the need for perfection. My mind is a bit cleaner, I am a bit wiser.
When you first start a company there is lots of OPTIMISM. Things are great. Happiness at first is high. Then you encounter all sorts of ISSUES. And happiness will steadily decline. And then you will go through a whole world of HURT. And then eventually if you succeed (in most cases you won’t succeed) after a LONG TIME you will finally get back to happiness. – Elon Musk on entrepreneurship
No matter what it is, it doesn’t all come shiny, crisp and clear at the very first time. It’s dirty, shapeless and smells bad. But it’s your job to take it to the next level.
Straight after the greatest desperation comes the greatest insight. Just hang on there. – Kate App
The great masterpieces take time. Be there for your creation every single day. Hold these ideas lovingly and patiently and let them grow and pour out of yourself – your project/skill/career/art/child/body/business.
You are not alone, you have good company! Dare to share about your creative process? Hit me in the comments below!